Summer is here and the sun isn’t playing this year! It’s no surprise that after a year stuck indoors, people are trampling each other to get to the Adirondack lakes and hiking trails. As great as the outdoors and vitamin D are for you, there are some precautions you need to remember to take before spending time in the sun.
Everyone knows to wear sunscreen, but do you pay attention to what’s in your sunscreen and how to properly apply it? Sunscreen is one of the most important things to remember when going outdoors in the summer. But one application is not good enough; when buying sunscreen, pay attention to the SPF level. This determines the amount of protection against the sun you have and the fairer your skin, the higher the SPF should be. Just because an SPF is high doesn’t mean you shouldn’t reapply it every two hours while in sunlight. Don’t forget also to look for waterproof sunscreen if you plan on swimming or sweating – but it’s still important to reapply just in case.
If you do get a sunburn (it’s bound to happen) aloe vera is a great coolant for any pain. You can buy it from a bottle or even purchase a leaf and cut it open yourself. The pure aloe will soothe your sunburn and help moisturizer the dried out skin underneath.
Besides sunburn, dehydration is another major concern during the hot weather season. Often when dehydration sets in, it’s hard to tell and you may not even feel thirsty. Remember to drink plenty of fluids when in the hot weather and under sunlight to stay hydrated. Symptoms of dehydration that tend to occur include irritability, dizziness, headaches and nausea. Avoid having to get fluids through an IV at the hospital by getting yourself an insulated water bottle. By having instant access to cold water, it may motivate you to drink more and is also refreshing if you need to cool down immediately.
Heat stress can stem from or cause dehydration when you spend too much time unprotected in the sun. Similar to dehydration, dizziness and nausea are a factor, but physical issues go beyond that with heat stress. Muscle cramping or spasms can occur, confusion may set in along with fatigue, the person with heat stress will have a high temperature, and they could faint, vomit or possibly even have a heat stroke.
Staying in the shade, protecting yourself with layers and sunscreen, drinking water and not pushing yourself too hard in the heat are ways to avoid damage to your body this summer.
Oh…and never, ever leave your chocolate in a hot car or in direct sunlight. 🙂
For more information and resources about how to stay safe in the sun this summer, the Red Cross, CDC and the US Government Websites are all free and easily accessible.